Guy Yalif Future of TV Mobile

Following acquisition by Yahoo, BrightRoll continues to focus on finding the right video audiences across devices


By Adam Flomenbaum, Co-Executive Editor

June 15, 2015 | 7 min read

Advertisers buying online video inventory programmatically are almost certainly using Brightroll, the demand side platform (DSP) that was acquired late last year by Yahoo for $640 million.


In the past eight months, Brightroll has been able to achieve what is usually most difficult for a just-acquired company: leveraging the best assets of the acquirer while also offering the same capabilities that precipitated the acquisition in the first place.

“The combination of Yahoo and BrightRoll brings together Yahoo’s desktop and mobile video advertising inventory and audience insight with BrightRoll’s leading programmatic video offerings, which include our DSP and Marketplace,” Guy Yalif, BrightRoll's Vice President of Global Marketing, told Found Remote. “We recognized an early opportunity to integrate Yahoo’s unique data assets into the BrightRoll DSP to offer superior audience targeting on Yahoo and across the broader web and mobile apps.”

However, Yalif added, just because BrightRoll is owned by Yahoo its software does not give priority to Yahoo owned and operated inventory: “The BrightRoll DSP, the BrightRoll Marketplace, and Yahoo as a publisher are all operated independently. Our DSP finds the most efficient path between an advertiser and their target audience across all inventory, irrespective of source.”

Brightroll’s focus now is on mobile video, over-the-top, and cross-device targeting - all within a programmatic context. For more on these initiatives, we spoke with Yalif:

Found Remote: What have been the major issues to date for marketers executing and measuring the effectiveness of their mobile video campaigns?

Guy Yalif: Despite mobile’s ubiquity, marketers have trailed consumers in integrating mobile video advertising into their overarching plans, and a big part of that is due to lack of measurement. While there is still no unifying industry standard, firms like comScore and Nielsen have released solutions to help advertisers measure mobile campaign effectiveness. These contributions are helping the industry accelerate the development of a common standard.

Some of the additional challenges we see marketers face include cross-device targeting, measuring the impact of mobile advertising, and managing their entire mobile video advertising through disparate web and app supply sources. It’s important to remember that it’s still early days in mobile video advertising. We can accelerate adoption of mobile video advertising to catch up with consumer behavior by coming together as an industry to address these pain points.

FR: Why are the ads I see when watching online video and over-the-top services still so generic? Based on the information Roku and WatchESPN have about me, for example, shouldn’t this highly targetable ad inventory be sold at a premium at this point in time?

Yalif: There are a few underlying reasons, which can vary by publisher and device. The single biggest reason is the lack of consistent targeting and measurement across devices. Most campaigns sold by large TV sales forces are measured by Nielsen’s traditional campaign ratings, which do not yet extend to many IP-oriented environments on an apples-to-apples basis. So the campaigns that remain in these feeds tend to be a limited number of large, reach-oriented or sponsorship-like deals that “spill over” into digital environments. The good news is that Nielsen is moving toward a hybrid methodology later this year, and there will just be a single rating going forward. This will include, for example, consumption on Roku devices, which means marketers can buy digital video advertising with the same kind of audience targeting available as traditional television.

The second main issue is a lack of consistent user ID across devices, which is particularly common in over-the-top content (OTT), but can even impact mobile campaigns as there are fewer data sets against which to target. Finally, the creative workflow for premium IP-distributed content has not yet caught up with the linear TV content workflow. The industry is just getting to the point where the production costs, security, rights and ad insertion technologies of content are achieving scale. The next step is creating workflows where the many versions of creatives (across formats, bitrates, devices, etc.) can happen efficiently.

FR: When is programmatic advertising going to become the norm for linear TV?

Yalif: Despite recent headlines that suggest the contrary, the vast majority of traditional linear TV advertising is still bought in advance on a reserve basis through the upfronts and scatter markets. We think this process will continue for a number of years to come. To move to programmatic, which we define as buying that is both automated and data driven, a significant retrofitting of both the infrastructure that powers TV advertising (mostly multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD)) pipes and the workflow surrounding the packaging, selling and buying of advertising will need to take place. One thing to watch in the coming few quarters and TV seasons is the relatively rapid proliferation of IP-powered television. Given the lack of established precedent and technical barriers, it’s likely we will see more programmatic activity there sooner than linear TV.

Having said that, there is some work being done to use new and varied data sets to more finely target and extend audiences, but it is mostly a manual process, and thus not yet truly programmatic.

FR: What is BrightRoll’s solution to cross-device targeting and advertising? What are some of the numbers you are seeing for ad reinforcement (i.e. the efficacy of a linear TV ad followed by a mobile ad)?

Yalif: Advertisers executing campaigns on BrightRoll can target audiences on web, mobile, tablet and linear and connected TV. Additionally, Yahoo’s cross-screen buying capabilities extend beyond targeting to include frequency capping and conversion tracking.

We recently announced our integration of Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings across our mobile inventory. This is unique because Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings is more deeply integrated into the BrightRoll DSP than any other software in the market. With Nielsen’s in-target composition data, advertisers can maximize campaign efficiency at the start of the planning process by forecasting whom their ads will reach in each inventory and data segment -- before spending any money on testing. This allows advertisers to deliver mobile campaigns at scale, verify audience delivery for both web and mobile, and manage their entire campaign from one platform.

The BrightRoll DSP also offers Yahoo’s unique audience data, which fully integrates user interests with their daily habits to reach viewers anywhere they are. Yahoo data includes user registration data, search data, browsing habits and interests, and cross-screen behavior. Additionally, BrightRoll gives advertisers the freedom to use the data that they want to use; they can rely on their own high quality first-party data to target audiences, or on third-party data providers such as BlueKai and eXelate.

In terms of ad reinforcement, we conducted a study with Nielsen last year that found using mobile video to complement TV can easily increase a marketer’s targeted reach by as much as 12.7 percent.

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